سیستم های مدیریت زیست محیطی و نوآوری های تکنولوژیک زیست محیطی : بررسی رابطه علت و معلولی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|6471||2009||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research Policy, Volume 38, Issue 5, June 2009, Pages 885–893
Within the discussion of voluntary proactive approaches to environmental protection, former micro-econometric studies analyze the causal effect of the adoption of environmental management systems (EMS) on technological environmental innovations and find some positive impacts. Based on empirical studies which consider the effect of general innovativeness on the adoption of voluntary environmental programs (VEP) as well as based on insights from the resource-based view of the firm, we contrarily hypothesize in this paper that EMS could also reversely be affected by environmental product or process innovations. This hypothesis is empirically examined with a unique firm-level data set from the German manufacturing sector. Our econometric analyses with uni- and multivariate probit models imply a significantly positive effect of environmental process innovations on certified EMS. According to this, the causal relationship between EMS and technological environmental innovations is obviously not clear.
Environmental regulation in the past has traditionally taken the form of mandatory command and control regulations, for example, by imposing quantity limits on emissions or by prescribing specific abatement technologies (e.g., Khanna, 2001). While this policy has significantly reduced industrial pollution, it has been criticized as being inflexible and cost-ineffective. Therefore, economic incentives such as taxes and tradable permits have become much more common. However, the efficient designing of such instruments for numerous different pollutants is rather sophisticated and costly. Furthermore, opposition from industry has often hindered the introduction of such policies (e.g., Arimura et al., 2008). As a consequence, in recent years voluntary proactive approaches to environmental protection are considered useful supplements to traditional mandatory command and control regulations and economic incentives (e.g., Khanna and Damon, 1999 and Alberini and Segerson, 2002). In this respect, voluntary environmental programs (VEP) such as public VEP (e.g., 33/50, initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) or negotiated agreements between business and government play an important role (e.g., Koehler, 2007). Another central VEP are unilateral agreements by firms regarding environmental management systems (EMS). The most important program in this respect is ISO 14001, which comprises standards for EMS that must be adopted (e.g., Potoski and Prakash, 2005b). ISO 14001 is sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an international body of national standards institutions (e.g., Potoski and Prakash, 2005a). Another prominent European VEP for EMS is EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme). Finally, single voluntary environmental management practices (EMP) – such as the establishment of internal standards, goals, and policies for environmental performance improvement – without formal certification according to ISO 14001 or EMAS are also considered important voluntary approaches to environmental protection. Supporters of VEP (and single EMP) claim that these approaches not only are more flexible and cheaper instruments, but also especially lead to an improvement in corporate environmental performance. Against this background, the European Commission currently strongly fosters EMAS as “[…] a powerful tool for managing and reducing the environmental impacts of industrial plants and institutions.” (http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/environment/sip.pdf). In Germany, EMAS certified facilities benefit from regulatory relief and from more and higher subsidies based on the EMAS privilege regulation (e.g., Wätzold and Bültmann, 2001). In contrast, critics consider VEP as “greenwashing” because they fail to lead participants to clean their operations due to absent significant obligations or enforcements (e.g., Potoski and Prakash, 2005a). As a consequence, former micro-econometric studies analyze the causal effect of VEP and single EMP on corporate environmental performance (e.g., Dasgupta et al., 2000 and Vidovic and Khanna, 2007). Other studies consider their effect on technological environmental innovations (e.g., Wagner, 2007) as a specific measure for environmental performance. Such environmental product and process innovations are clearly more complex indicators for environmental performance than restricted one-dimensional measures such as toxic emissions (e.g., Vidovic and Khanna, 2007) or the compliance with environmental regulations (e.g., Dasgupta et al., 2000). In particular, they receive increasing attention from policy makers and academics because they do not only produce spillovers of innovations, but additionally limit environmental burden and therefore lead to further positive externalities. While empirical evidence regarding the effect of VEP or single EMP on corporate environmental performance is overall mixed (e.g., Vidovic and Khanna, 2007, report insignificant effects of the participation in 33/50), it appears that certifications according to ISO 14001 have positive impacts, at least more positive impacts than the adoption of other VEP (e.g., Darnall and Sides, 2008). As a consequence, Arimura et al. (2008), for example, conclude that corresponding promotions of ISO 14001 by governments are effective with respect to environmental protection. The support of ISO 14001 can be strengthened by studies which show that its adoption has some specific positive effects on technological environmental innovations (e.g., Ziegler and Rennings, 2004). Based on empirical studies that consider the effect of general corporate innovativeness on the adoption of VEP as well as based on insights from the resource-based view of the firm, however, we contrarily hypothesize that the adoption of VEP such as ISO 14001 or EMAS could also be reversely affected by environmental product and process innovations. According to this, firms which already realized such specific innovations in the past, for example, due to market or competition factors are more likely to possess environmental capabilities in having overcome management barriers such as the lack of finance or know-how at least once before. To test this hypothesis, we apply a unique firm-level data set from the German manufacturing sector (which is already used in the aforementioned study of Ziegler and Rennings, 2004). Our econometric analysis with uni- and multivariate probit models finds a significantly positive effect of environmental process innovations on the certification of EMS. According to this, a positive correlation seems to exist at least to some extent, but the causal relationship between the adoption of ISO 14001 or EMAS and technological environmental innovations is obviously ambiguous. However, even the occurring positive correlation can be challenged since theoretically the resource-based view of the firm also implies that unobserved intangible corporate environmental capabilities could simultaneously influence both environmental activities. As a consequence, the respective parameter estimates could be biased and inconsistent due to omitted unobserved firm heterogeneity (as a specific type of omitted explanatory variables) and therefore due to endogeneity problems. We conclude that panel data over several years – which are not available for technological environmental innovations yet – are needed in the future to perform robust econometric analyses since these data, unlike cross-sectional data, are able to control for unobserved firm characteristics. Such panel data studies will be a more appropriate basis for robust conclusions regarding voluntary proactive approaches to environmental protection for environmental policy. This paper is structured as follows: in Section 2, we discuss the conceptual approach of the relationship between ISO 14001 and EMAS as specific VEP and technological environmental innovations. Section 3 reviews the empirical literature on the adoption of VEP or single EMP and corporate environmental performance. Section 4 explains the data, the variables, and the approach for our econometric analysis. In Section 5, we present the results and the final section discusses our new findings together with former estimation results and draws some conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Based on former empirical studies analyzing the effect of general corporate innovativeness on the adoption of VEP or specific EMP as well as based on ideas from the resource-based view of the firm, we hypothesize in this paper that the certification of EMS according to ISO 14001 or EMAS could be affected by environmental product and process innovations. Our econometric analysis with uni- and multivariate probit models supports this hypothesis because environmental process innovations have a significantly positive effect on certified EMS. We conclude from these results that the causal relationship between EMS and technological environmental innovations is ambiguous, also considering the estimation results of studies which reversely analyze the effect of implemented EMS (or EMP) on technological environmental innovations (e.g., Ziegler and Rennings, 2004, Rehfeld et al., 2007, Frondel et al., 2007, Frondel et al., 2008, Wagner, 2007, Wagner, 2008 and Horbach, 2008). Instead of a clear causal relation, a complex dynamic interrelationship between these measures seems to be more likely. This result is of high practical relevance. The European Commission and several European countries including Germany promote VEP and specific EMP. They consider such voluntary proactive approaches to environmental protection a supplement to traditional mandatory command and control regulations or market based economic incentives such as green taxes. An extension of this environmental policy could, for example, be a further enhancement of already existing regulatory relief or an increase of subsidies for EMAS certified firms (e.g., Wätzold and Bültmann, 2001). However, our empirical results suggest that the contribution of encouraging the adoption of EMS to foster technological environmental innovations is ambiguous. Although we do not argue that the adoption of an EMS cannot be conducive to environmental performance, we question the assumption that they do so in general. If certifications according to ISO 14001 or EMAS were more likely to be realized by already environmentally active firms, the adoption of EMS would not need separate public support. In this case, environmental policy which supports voluntary EMS certifications can even lead to windfall profits for these environmentally active companies. As a consequence, it is questionable whether such environmental policy approaches could fully replace other types of environmental regulations. Finally, even the positive (partial) correlation – beyond the problem of causal relationship – between certified EMS and technological environmental innovations could be challenged. Our argument can again be based on the resource-based view of the firm (e.g., Wernerfelt, 1984 and Barney, 1991) which, as discussed above, emphasizes the importance of firms’ internal resources. Resources which are valuable, rare, and difficult to imitate or to substitute, are fundamental to attain competitive advantages (e.g., Russo and Fouts, 1997) and therefore key for innovative activities (e.g., Galende and de la Fuente, 2003). Ultimately, the focus lies on firms’ knowledge- and information-based assets. Technological environmental innovations are likely to be influenced by organizational routines, capabilities, and tacit knowledge related to environmental issues. These factors are probably also determinants of the adoption of EMS. The capabilities refer to mechanisms in terms of the use of the firms’ tangible or intangible assets (e.g., Sharma and Vredenburg, 1998). Intangible assets (e.g., reputation, learning processes) are more likely to lead to innovations and competitive advantages because they are more likely to be rare and difficult to copy than tangible ones (e.g., financial resources). Therefore, we consider the omitted underlying unobserved firm heterogeneity (as a specific type of omitted explanatory variables), i.e. unobserved firm characteristics that simultaneously influence EMS implementations and technological environmental innovations, an important source of endogeneity problems. As a consequence, the corresponding parameter estimates could be biased and inconsistent. Since these firm characteristics are not directly observable, they are difficult to include in cross-sectional econometric analyses regarding EMS certifications and technological environmental innovations. Similar to Börsch-Supan and Köke (2002), who analyze the relationship between corporate governance and firm performance, and Russo (in press), we thus conclude that panel data over several years (which are not available yet for EMS or EMP, on the one hand, and especially technological environmental innovations, on the other hand) are needed in the future to perform robust econometric analyses. Indeed, Horbach (2008) uses two panel data sets, namely the establishment panel of the IAB and the MIP of the ZEW, for his analysis of the determinants of technological environmental innovations. However, these data sets are not specifically designed to examine environmental product and process innovations. For example, the IAB data set does not comprise technological environmental innovations, but only product and process innovations in the environmental sector. Moreover, only two waves of the panel data could be considered which are clearly not sufficient for reliable estimation results. Furthermore, the MIP data set only provides technological innovations with environmental and health effects and does not provide any information about EMS or EMP. Most notably, however, this analysis is only based on one wave of the MIP and therefore a cross-sectional consideration. Unlike cross-sectional or restricted panel data analyses, rich panel data models can reliably control for unobserved firm characteristics and are able to examine dynamic effects. Such panel data approaches are also the basis to avoid or reduce endogeneity problems due to the unclear causal relationship between EMS adoption or EMP and technological environmental innovations by providing valid instruments. The main problem in this respect is where such panel data could come from. Naturally, it would be ideal if technological environmental innovations were incorporated in already existing panel data surveys which only comprise general product and process innovations (including both technological environmental and non-environmental innovations) so far. The most important European surveys in this respect are the Community Innovation Surveys (CIS). However, we are aware that it is presently not planned to include such variables in the CIS or, at the national level, for example, in the German MIP. Nevertheless, we think that it would be useful when public institutions such as the European Commission or national governments commission research institutes to collect such panel data as basis for corresponding panel data analyses and thus a more appropriate basis for robust conclusions regarding voluntary proactive approaches to environmental protection in environmental policy.